Having a drunk driving charge can significantly affect one's future. Job opportunities and rental properties may be unattainable because of the charge on one's record. Sometimes a person may be pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving because of swerving or speeding, yet other times the person's driving does not suggest anything out of the ordinary. Many states have officers operate DUI checkpoints to catch people who may be driving drunk before an accident occurs.
A prominent California priest, who has been selected to become archbishop of San Francisco this fall, was arrested at a DUI checkpoint recently. The priest had been at dinner with family and friends and was driving home when he was stopped at a DUI checkpoint. His blood alcohol content level was allegedly above the legal limit. He was taken to jail and released the following day.
An officer at the scene of the DUI checkpoint stated that the priest was "obviously impaired." When pulled over at a DUI checkpoint, police need to have good reason to suspect a driver has been drinking before performing a breath test.
It is unclear what led the officer at the scene to believe the priest was "obviously impaired," but oftentimes signs that may seem to suggest drinking are a result of something else. For instance, if a man smells of alcohol, it could be because another person spilled a drink on his clothing. Or, if a driver's eyes seem glazed over and she has a hard time responding quickly, it could be because she is very tired.
When police at a DUI checkpoint decide that they have good reason to believe the driver has been drinking, there is a possibility that their suspicions are not accurate. Anyone facing drunk driving charges may wish to consult an attorney knowledgeable about DUI checkpoints while working through the charges.
Source: The Seattle Times, "SF archbishop-elect apologizes for DUI arrest," Elliot Spagat and Lisa Leff, Aug. 27, 2012